By: Louise Fayet
Another top pick? Nestled in Plaza del Lago, Jai's Contemporary Indian Cuisine has been changing the game when it comes to affordable five-star cuisine.
The Indian-fusion restaurant is run by the executive Chef, Jai Lakhwani. Jai has been a chef for over 10 years. After studying at The Culinary Institute of America in New York, Chef returned to Sint Maarten to introduce his Indian-fusion dining experience to the island.
Let's check out what Chef Jai has in store...
Welcome to Jai's
Tip: The modern-designed restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating. Opt for the indoor setting to have a full view of Jai at work.
Dinner begins with table snacks...
Crispy Papadums to Snack
A popular Indian snack, Chef adds paprika and cumin to spice up these crispy, light chips.
The menu is simple but deep with flavor and rich in culture. Appetizers include buffalo cauliflower, lamb samosa, beet salad, octopus and...
A pillowy soft ball of buratta is laid on a bed of blistered tomatoes and garlic. Chef drizzles the plate with cilantro oil, adding a light and refreshing flavor to the dish. The whole creation is pulled together with slices of garlic naan. We always order two of these dishes - they disappear quickly! Simply delicious.
Another must get at Jai's...
Egg-Chili Cheese Toast
This is not your average "egg sandwich". Eggs, gouda cheese, herbs and spices of cumin are mixed together and sandwiched between two perfectly toasted slices of bread. Chef serves this sandwich with a homemade ketchup. Each bite boasts an explosion of flavors!
Another great sharing plate from the appetizers...
Fried Tandoori Chicken Sliders
Three crispy chicken sliders are layered with pickled red onions, cucumber slices and drizzled in a spicy honey. These sandwiches are finger-licking good!
Lastly from the appetizers...
Green olives, paneer cheese and pimento pepper are deep fried and served with a spicy aioli. Crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, we always get an order of these olives at Jai's!
Chef's creativity really shines in his main courses. His unique twists on traditional Indian dishes are show-stoppingly delicious.
Biryani is usually served with chicken or mutton. Chef switches it up by adding shrimp as the protein. Tender shrimp with spicy yogurt, onion chaat and potato are laid on a bed of rice. Oh so aromatic, you can smell this dish from a mile away. It is flavor-filled!
Chicken Tikka Masala
A large chicken breast is bathed in a creamy and smooth spiced curry sauce. Succulent, juicy and moist yet crispy on the outside, the balance of textures is noteworthy. This bird is cooked to perfection! The chicken is spiced with fenugreek, kashmiri chili, fried onion and garnished with cilantro oil and herbs.
For the meat lovers...
This rack of ribs is slow cooked for four hours! The meat effortlessly falls right off the bone. Chef serves them in a lemongrass, soy, curry leaf and cilantro sauce.
Pan Seared Duck Breast
Chef sure knows how to cook a bird! His pan seared duck is tender and pink inside, and golden-crisp on the outside. The duck is served with cilantro chimichurri, an orange-coriander glaze and a touch of black garlic oil.
My favorite from the main course?
A generous salmon fillet is baked and nestled in an eggplant puree with roasted fennel and a tamarind-balsamic glaze. The flavors of this dish are almost indescribable. The hints of sweet... the tanginess... ah! You just have to taste it for yourself. Prepare to have your taste buds blown away!
Now let's talk about side dishes...
A visit to Jai's is not complete until you try the naan of the day and the mac n' cheese!
Makhani Mac n’ Cheese
This is not your classic mac and cheese. A variety of spices and herbs mingle in a creamy and cheesy sauce. Topping the rich macaroni are crumbles of paneer cheese and a dusting of herbs.
Next up and highly recommended...
Special Naan of the Day
Who doesn't love naan?! Get the butter or garlic naan or try the special of the day. I am never disappointed with the naan specials. Chef loves experimenting with flavors. Sometimes they are topped with cheese or tomato sauce, jalapeño or olive tapendade!
Also up for grabs are the black lentil dal, fries, basmati or seasoned rice and seasonal vegetables.
Despite our stomachs always running on FULL by the end of an evening at Jai's, we can never resist Chef's desserts...
A shareable size of a cardamom-infused chocolate brownie is served in a heated cast iron pan and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The show really begins when Chef pours his Nutella sauce on the dessert. As he pours, the pan sizzles, your mouth waters. The aroma is irresistible!
Prefer a lighter bite? Try the Kulfi of The Day...
Chef's Kulfi of The Day
Refreshing and light, Chef has fun with his ice cream flavors. Daily specials vary from tiramisu and black forest, to gulab jamun and so many more. Creativity knows no bounds here!
With a convenient location and an affordable and unique menu, Jai's Contemporary Indian Cuisine gets an A+ in our books.
Open hours: Lunch on Monday & Tuesday: 12:00PM - 2:30PM Dinner on Monday - Saturday and closed on Sundays.
Tel: 1 (721) 526-3742